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August 06, 2005

Wing Flash...

Thought I would pop up above the ridgeline for a second to let you know I'm still out there in line abreast...

I've had a radio problem or two, thanks to my temporary re-lo. Where I'm staying had no wideband but now that's fixed, so here I am.

Lots going on, none of which has to do with blogging. Bottom line: major life changes. Couldn't hang in the consulting world--bored the living crap out of this old, short-attention-spanned attack pilot--so I, well, quit.

Good decision.

You can make six figures, but waking up every morning thinking, "[Expletive], another work day..." is Just. Not. Worth. It. It wasn't the company, either. The firm I was associated with is a class act, but if being a civilian action officer in the military machine isn't your thang, the biggest 401k in the world won't suffice.

The challenge was, I came to this conclusion about two months after my last day in uniform and going to work as a contractor. So, two months after that, I had my ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) rating in hand and went looking for work in my off hours.

After about 60 hours of refresher training/currency/just building hours flying on the GI Bill (I picked 40% of the tab, Uncle Sam the rest), roughly ten grand in personal funds for interview preparation that included lots of regulatory and technical self-study, academics, testing, practice interviews, heavy (Airbus 320 and Boeing 737) simulator time at a major airline's training facility, and a 929-day wait, I got a chance to interview with my #1 flying company choice.

Fooled 'em and they hired me.

Meanwhile, I wanted to fulfill my wife's long-term desire to move closer to family so we did that, too. Military wives earn that kind of decision/action. Just trust me here.

I have taken an 80% pay cut (while in training at least), pulled pitch and settled back down 5 states away, and started all over.

I am the oldest fart in our little class and have no seniority (for the airline guys out there, tha last part sends shivers up the spine). I have only about eight years of flying before FAA rules yank me out of the cockpit (at least for what's called "Part 121" flying--the majors) but, dammit, what's the point if you don't enjoy what you do? It's a cliché, but truer words were never spoken.

I am, right now, working pretty darn hard. The course is tough, but not impossible, and they tell us things sort of come together at the right time--like just before your oral evals and the subsequent checkride. My point? Don't expect a lot of snark from me for awhile. Sorry.

I will say this:

In John's post below (McCaffery's Iraq report) the one thing that made me smile was Venzuela being lumped with Iran, North Korea and the other ususal suspects. Profound insight? Doubt it, but retired 4-stars are expected to be so. Nice little zinger, but I think Hugo doesn't have a whole helluva lot to worry about. He's still pumping oil, last time I checked.

John Roberts: Investigating the adoption records of his two kids. Sweeeet. Gotta hand it to today's "loyal" opposition; they have class.

The Airbus crash: That's a highly automated jet, but even a Cray on board would probably not have been much help. Don't land in a thunderstorm. God takes your chutzpah (or aeronautical hubris) as a personal challenge.

OK...all for now. I use most of my time off to study and practice in the sim. Again, my apologies--will be back occasionally, but the heavy snark will have to wait. Y'all keep reading John and Bill. They're smarter than me, anyway.

More later (really)...